Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 2, No 3 (2006)

In the Light of Hoasca: An Approach to the Religious Experience of Participants of the União Do Vegetal, translated by Lyzette Góes Telles Brissac

Sérgio Brissac
Issued Date: 27 Nov 2008


This article deals with the symbolic experiences of urban participants of the União do Vegetal
(UDV), in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Through the analysis of participant speech, it seeks to
identify the discursive axes of disciples of the UDV. Subjects’ experiences under the effects of the
tea are strongly liminal, and frequently act as mediators through which the subject articulates
elements of his life with those of the UDV worldview, experiencing them as a single reality. This
experience is labeled by the author as encompassment in the force of the burracheira (the UDV
designation for the ‘strange force’ that accompanies ingestion of the tea). As elaborated by
Brissac, this idea denotes both the subjective experience of being ‘swept up’ by the effects of
ayahuasca, and the way in which the UDV as a symbolic system draws to itself elements of other
religious practices.

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DOI: 10.1558/firn.v2i3.319

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